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The Santa Rosa winery is putting the finishing touches on its downtown tasting room while the spotlight is on Sonoma County.

The online travel site TripAdvisor has ranked Sonoma County as the nation’s premiere wine destinations and it snagged the number 2 spot among those in the world.

Brad Calkins, executive director of the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “It’s great news and now our secret is out … a big part of the reason is the personalized experience you get in Sonoma County. You can go into a lot of tasting rooms and meet the winemakers or owners. A perfect example is Ancient Oak Cellars. They’re going to be there.”

The winery is making a statement with a portion of three wine barrels protruding from the outside of Corrick’s  in downtown  Santa Rosa, signaling a coming out party of sorts.

Ancient Oak Cellars’ grand opening is the weekend of Oct. 27 & 28 in Corrick’s Stationery Store, and it’s significant because it’s the first tasting room in downtown Santa Rosa, with others expected to follow in their footsteps.

“I’m guessing by next spring there will be another couple wineries down here,” said co-vintner, Melissa Moholt-Siebert.  “ We don’t see that as competition. Once three or four more tasting rooms will be here, it will make downtown Santa Rosa more of a destination and that will be good for us.”

Moholt-Siebert has her eye on this compelling statistic:  approximately 24,000 of the 52,000 visitors expected to come to the California Visitor’s Center in Santa Rosa this year have specifically asked about tasting rooms in the city of Santa Rosa. She crunched these numbers from statistics compiled by the California Visitor’s Center and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

Moholt-Siebert and her husband Ken started Ancient Oak Cellars in 2006 with just a couple hundred cases of pinot noir, from grapes planted by Ken’s grandfather, Henry Siebert. The winery now produces about 8,000 cases yearly.

Tasting room hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The tasting fee will be $10, but it will be waived with a wine purchase, and parking will be validated in all city garages.

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